For a long time I looked for a footrest for use with my office chair. They range in price from $40 to $100 and they are always made of plastic, flimsy, crappy stuff that fails rapidly.
Another major complaint is that they all have a really annoying flaw because they are all rectangular in shape. What this means is that your chair wheel constantly bumps up against the footrest and moves it out of position or jostles your legs and feet around so you lose your comfy spot on the footrest.
The solution was to build my own. This one is made out of salvaged floor boards, a piece of plywood, 8 inches of scrap 2x4 and a few wood screws.
I have been using this model for several years and it is really sturdy and looks pretty good. The total cost was $0 for me because I had all the materials in a scrap pile.
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Step 1: Make a Base
Step one is to make a base for your footrest. I had a piece of 1/2" plywood about 24" long by 9" wide so I used that. You can make your footrest any size you like but I would not recommend going any smaller than 24 x 9.
To make things sturdy enough for even heavy feet, use at least 1/2" plywood or thicker.
Don't worry about the edges just yet, we are going to cut them off soon enough.
Step 2: Add Floor Boards
To make a nice looking top side for your footrest, use some salvaged hardwood floor boards. (3)
Any wood will do but if you can score a few feet of prefinished floor boards, they make a durable pleasing surface with no work or messy painting or staining or varnishing etc.
I chose to angle my boards in this "V" shaped pattern to save material and reduce cutting.(3)
(4) cut out a wedge shape from a piece of floor board about 4" wide at the base.
Step 3: Mounting and Cutting
Use at least 2 screws per floor board driven right through the base to mount the floor boards securely to the base. (6) Don't mount the center triangular joining piece just yet.
You can let the floor boards run wild over the edges and once they are screwed down, cut them, together with the base plate, flush with a table saw to your final dimensions. (7)
If you are fussy, you can run a router round-over bit along the edges to smooth them out but I didn't bother. I just used a piece of sandpaper on the top edge of the floorboards to remove any sharpness.
Use a band saw or jig saw to cut out the notch from the base plate and floor boards. Make the wide end of the notch about 9" and the narrow end about 3 inches. The narrow end is not critical as it will be hidden by the joining piece of floor board in the next step.
Screw on the triangular shaped joining piece so that it looks like the second picture when you turn it all over. The wood screws make it all secure. I used no glue or anything else but the screws and it has held for years.
Step 4: Height Wedges
To make your height adjustment wedges, just cut a piece of 2x4 dimensional lumber into a wedge shape about 2" wide tapering to 0" with an overall length about 8". (5)
This overall height is comfortable for me but you may want a slightly different height or slope. You may need to use some denial and error to come up with the final version of your wedges.
Drill a couple of pilot holes and use a couple of screws to mount the wedges to the base plate on each side of your footrest about 4" in from each side. (8)
Step 5: Finished :)
Now turn it all over and put it in service.
You can see that the notch we made is great for permitting your office chair wheel (9) to work in harmony with the footrest. No more bumping the footrest and throwing your knees out of joint whenever you move your chair.
The prefinished maple floor boards make a very sturdy, smooth, good looking and warm footrest with no work to finish them or paint them. Just slide the footrest back or forward as much as you need to get a comfortable height working for you without the chair wheel interfering (10).
Enjoy your new footrest for many years and keep $100 in your pocket for something better. I have used this footrest many hours every day for over 3 years and it still looks and works great.
Next time I will show you how to make a nifty wireless desktop holder.